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October 22nd, 2012
08:03 AM ET

Study: Boys starting puberty earlier – Elizabeth Cohen explains

A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that boys are now hitting puberty six months to two years earlier than in studies looking at previous decades. Researchers don’t know why this is the case, but recent studies show a similar effect in girls going through puberty. CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more on the study.

Cohen says the numbers are also different by race. African-American boys are hitting puberty at just over 9 years old, white boys and Hispanic boys are hitting puberty at a little over 10 years old. “When pediatricians see this data, they think,” Cohen says, “maybe parents need to be having that talk with their boys a little sooner than they would have.”

While no one is quite sure of the reason why boys may be hitting puberty earlier, “there are all sorts of theories out there,” Cohen says.

“Perhaps it’s hormones in our food, hormones in our environment, perhaps it’s because boys, like girls, are fatter than they used to be, and fat plays a role in hormone production.” There is also no guaranteed way to stave off puberty, but parents can avoid using products with BPA in them and also eat hormone-free foods to try and prevent early puberty, Cohen reports.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Tracey

    i turned on the news this morning as soon as I woke up, only to hear this news reporter calling kids "fat". Maybe this is the problem with bullying in this country with our children. They repeat what they hear, and to hear this woman repeatedly calling kids "fat" made me sick to my stomach and I turned the channel.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  2. chris

    and all the hormones in the food they are putting in the chickens and beef has nothing to do with it ,,it must be in the air we just breath in all these hormones ,,watch food inc and rethink what you think you know ,cause you dont know till you KNOW

    October 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
  3. Janet Thompson

    I believe the reason that ALL youngsters are entering puberty earlier is that they are eating SOY which has been insidiously added to most of our foods. SOY mimics estrogen, which will speed up the puberty process. Check it out...

    October 22, 2012 at 8:51 am | Reply
  4. Danielle

    I truly believe that all kids are hitting puberty faster because of our poor quality food. Foods filled with GMO's (genetically modified ingredients) Not only are the foods poor quality but the way they market bad foods to the general public is shameful. Most meat companies for example say "no added hormones" what they don't tell you is the animal is eating soy and corn that is both genetically modified and full of estrogen. All families should switch to non-GMO, and Organic foods.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply

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